Traditional Kerala Cuisine

Traditional Kerala cuisine was influenced by the edible crops available locally. The coastal areas produced fish, coconut, rice and salt in plenty. The midlands, in addition to rice, produced mango, jackfruit, banana and numerous other edible stuff. The hilly forests in the east yielded pepper, cardamom, ginger, turmeric and other produce.

Rice was the main food. Cooked rice served with different kinds of curries consituted the lunch. Supper could also be the same, or could consist of rice porridge with roasted (or fried) pappadom and a dish or chutney.

An iddali breakfast Breakfast typically consisted of iddali or dosa or porridge, served with a chutney. There were other choices like puttu or appam or idiappam served with their own special curries.

Curries made with different vegetables (or fish) were essential accompaniments of rice at lunch. The vegetables were cooked with different kinds of flavoring agents, which included green chillies, ginger, turmeric, mango or tamarind or kudappuli and curry leaves. Fish was cooked in coconut milk, sometimes with mango to give a sour flavor. Onion and garlic were also important.

Ripe mangoes, jackfruit and banana were eaten as they were, or cooked into curries or converted into different kinds of preserves for eating during the lean (rainy) season.

We would provide recipes for different Kerala dishes, such as fish curry recipes, in separate articles. If you are interested in traditional Kerala practices for cooking, visit the separate page Traditional Kerala Cooking.

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